Because we receive so many questions about how we specifically set up our blog, we decided to provide our readers with a soup-to-nuts, comprehensive guide for how to set up a blog. This blog post is intended to function as a how-to manual—a guide that will light the path toward launching your new blog—with easy-to-follow screenshots, step-by-step instructions, as well as additional rationale and insights to improve your blog.

“As a newer blogger, I have been wanting a conversation – a seasoned blogger to talk to me about the most popular ways to monetize my blog, the pros and cons of each of them, and give me realistic tips and goals to reach my future goal. Ruth did all of this. She has such a fantastic writing style that you feel like you are sitting down with her over a cup of coffee. The material is easy to navigate, covering the importance of good content before anything else, Pinterest, media kits, reviews, ads, and a whole lot more. Ruth is incredibly level-headed in her approach to monetizing her blog and truly believes and promotes that a blog full of good ideas, content and writing must come first. My favorite part is that every chapter ends with a “plan of action” which is great if you are truly looking to improve your blog. I can’t wait to put her tips and ideas into action and watch my blog grow!“
I will tell you up front that within a month of starting my blog I had spent over 600 dollars and I chose to see it as an investment, one that I knew I might never get back. It was scary. I could have spent ten times that – but it would have been unnecessary. I will also tell you that my best (successful) blogging buddies have also spent AT LEAST that much within their first months.

Use a keyword research tool to gather even more ideas: We want a TON of these blog post topics, so let’s use a keyword explorer tool like Ahrefs (pictured above), Google Keyword Planner, or Moz to help us fill it out. These tools basically just show you terms and topics related to the ones you’ve already come up with, as well as how much traffic those terms are getting (to show that your audience cares about them!)

Choosing an extension is also important. The extension is the “.com,” “.net,” or “.org” after a website. There are now dozens of extensions, but those three are the most familiar to English-speaking audiences and will drive the most traffic to your website. Unless you’re a non-profit or a similar type of blog, don’t go for “.org” -- a “.com” is the top choice, followed by “.net.”


W3 Total Cache – Absolutely essential. This is a plugin that will make your website load faster and put less stress on your hosting account. It's very important to have it to prevent your website from crashing when one of your articles or other content goes viral on social media or is mentioned on a popular website and many thousands of visitors may pour in quickly.
Whether you have been blogging for years or just a few weeks, Ruth’s bestselling book, How to Blog For Profit (Without Selling Your Soul), offers solid advice and practical action plans for writing amazing content that gets noticed and shared, creating compelling images, growing blog traffic, maximizing revenue, and turning your blog into a profitable business.
Getting into the groove of writing content for your blog is fairly easy. Once you’re there, you’re there. But writing for your email list is a big challenge. Some women go on scrapbooking weekends. Some men go off to hunt. When it’s my weekend to take off by myself, I pack up my computer and a few bottles of wine and head to my sister’s house to write auto responder emails.

This step should come after defining your niche. Once you know who you’re targeting, you can get to work on finding out about all of the individual problems they’re having and pinpointing their top pain points. Why is this important? People read blogs, watch videos and buy products to solve the problems they’re having. You could simply blog about what you feel would be most popular and create products you feel would be most profitable, but having definitive proof on what your audience cares about the most is a much better way to ensure success.
Lastly, don’t be afraid or too shy to integrate your personality into your brand, and yes, your blog is your brand. Consumers want to buy products from brands they trust, and there are few greater ways to form relationships with them than by sharing your own thoughts and personal struggles in your niche, showing more of yourself, and generally being as authentic and transparent as possible.
Great article about the harsh realities of blogging. I started my regional movie reviews site in 2002 and did alright during the ‘golden years’ when just consistently cranking out content was enough to garner solid traffic numbers for the 2% conversion rate to mean something, cash-wise. I’m now in the tough process of overhauling the site for the new reality you’ve outlined, already creating supporting screening listings, as well as relevant video, audio ebook and other product content to extend my brand’s reach across different popular platforms. I think the biggest challenges I’ve faced are changing my old mindset about building email lists and selling advertising space versus social media and adding affiliate ads, and figuring out how to apply them in a smart fashion to grow the site’s income potential within the narrow context of what a regional movie review/reference site can be. The current ersa of adblocker as well as Firefox’s new anti-tracking browser hiding adsense and amazon ads by default doesn’t help either.
Hi. Thank you for your informative post. I’m still looking for the best (least expensive or free) value to use my own domain (not with wordpress.com or the like in the domain name). If you’ve included this information somewhere, I have missed it. I also didn’t see it on the comparison chart? I’m sure it’s probably there, but maybe worded differently…?

If you want to set yourself up for success, then you should invest in a self-hosted blog. A self-hosted blog is when you pay a company such as Bluehost to “park” your website in their “parking lot.” The company owns all the servers that you’re able to use to host your own content on (i.e. your blog). This service comes with a monthly fee of course.
Great article. I recently came into blogging. I hadn’t completed what quantity I had learnt from my initial try. currently, with the new diary, I started a few month alone, I’m seeing a rise in traffic on a daily basis that is kind of stunning and really exciting. therefore I even have been reading everywhere the way to legitimize a diary. Your article is superb and in-depth. Many thanks for sharing. I will be able to definitely take on some of your advice. Cheers Jamie!
I will be rocking my blogging in 2018! Back in the Fall of 2017 I rolled out a modern web site design and a podcast. I’ve also just done an evaluation of what worked last year and the areas where I fell short. I also found it helpful to examine those latter areas to understand why. With those in mind, I know where I need to focus my energy. I’ve even got two new products in the works (both in the editing phase). 2018, here I come!
Thank you for sharing such a great post! I am new to blogging and I keep on searching for website like this. One of the hardship I encountered is content for my blog I am not very good at writing so I am planning to hire someone who could provide a very good content. Do you have any recommendation where to hire for someone who could write an article for me?
Are you wondering how to start a blog? I’m glad you’re here! In this post, I’ll show you exactly how to create your own blog, no technical experience required. (It’s easier and faster than you think.) Plus, I’ll answer some frequently asked questions and share some of my protips along the way. This is the site I wish I had when I started blogging 15 years ago!
Write down every topic that you are knowledgeable or passionate about. You'll have a much easier time making money from a blog you are interested in, rather than trying to write content you don't like because you think it will make money.[1] Some examples are hobbies that you enjoy, your career, or some specific and miscellaneous knowledge that you have.
While there are other blogging platforms out there like Blogger.com and Tumblr.com, nearly every serious blogger uses a self-hosted WordPress site because of its creative freedom and flexibility. The Minimalists uses WordPress because it gives us greater control over the look and feel of our blog—more creative control than any other platform. Oh, and WordPress itself is free!
All you have to do is keep going. Rinse. Repeat. Again and again. Keep churning out great content and people will eventually take notice. Get social on social media and share your content everywhere that you possibly can. It's going to feel frustrating at first. I still remember the early days and just how painful it was to see a small trickle of traffic. But that changes over time.
First of all, happy new year and once again you did a great job by sharing such a fantastic blog with all of us. It’s beneficial for everyone searching for this topic. I read many blogs on this topic, but the way you describe the things is really impressive. I just loved it. You make me feel proud that I am a reader of your blog. I read all of your blogs on a regular basis and honestly saying all of them are super awesome. Thanks for making such an excellent website for all of us and sharing such type of unique content. Keep sharing. I appreciate your work. Once again Thank You so much for this lovely post.

Earn a living doing what you love! Whether you have been blogging for years or just a few weeks, How to Blog For Profit (Without Selling Your Soul) will prove a valuable resource. The expanded second edition, offers solid advice and practical action plans for creating an authentic, successful, and profitable blog.  Ruth Soukup shares how she grew her own blog to over one million monthly visitors, while earning a full time income, and writing about the things she truly cares about. In this book you will receive actionable steps to be able to achieve your goals:


By now you’ve probably come across the term “plugin”, and you might be wondering what the heck that is and if you need any of ’em. There are pros and cons to plugins, and you definitely don’t just want to dive in and start installing plugins left and right. Lesson 5 is an overview of what plugins are, how to install them, and what to be careful about regarding plugins when you start a blog.
And if you want to maximize your blog’s potential for earning an income (maybe the reason you're learning how to start a blog in the first place?), then it’s always worth it to own your platform and go with a self-hosted WordPress blog, powered by a hosting provider like Bluehost that'll have your back on any of the technical questions & issues you run into.
No you don’t pay both; WordPress is a free platform. What you’re looking at on the WordPress website is their hosting service costs. You’ll be able to upload WordPress directly from BlueHost. There are free options but you’re limited in how you can monetize. This post has some information on free options: https://www.theworkathomewoman.com/businesses-start-no-money/

Always keep a capture device close by. Ideas can come to you at any time and if you don’t write them down then they can easily be forgotten and lost. So write down every idea for a blog post that you get and then evaluate if it's a good and useable one later on. I use a memo app on my smart-phone for this when I am out and about. And my computer when I'm at home.
Great article Jamie! I’ve only ever used affiliate links on my blog but recently I’ve been getting a lot of text-link offers. A typical email will ask a link to be put into one of my articles (relating to the content or website they want to link back to) and they offer anywhere between $50-$150 per link. Given the nature of your article, I just wanted to check your thoughts on such offers. Are they legitimate or should I have red flags go up as I’d hate to think they increase spam or worse yet affect google ranking or break basic rules of website T&Cs. Again, I’m not familiar in monetizing via such offers and googling about it didn’t give me much info. Thanking you in advance.
When people pay attention, not only are they engaged, which is great for Google, but they’re also likely to share and comment on your work. These are all indications of engagement. And those share links help you considerably as long as they’re real and they’re organic. You can’t just go out and buy shares or engagement. You won’t make any traction like that.

Of course, there are other CMS options you can look at, such as Squarespace, Ghost, and Wix when learning how to start a blog. However, I strongly recommend setting up a self-hosted WordPress site for your blog as it’s the most sustainable, long-term solution—and really the only option worth considering if you're starting a blog with the eventual goal of making money from your website in some way, shape or form.
Custom themes are created by an individual developer (coder and designer, or agency) who will either customize an existing theme or create a brand new theme for you. While coming with clear-cut advantages, they are not the ideal choice for a beginner blogger due to their high cost. Prices to customize a theme, range from $500 to $2,000, depending on the features you want.
Bon Crowder runs the Math Four website. She finds the blogging aspect relatively easy and spends most of her energy on creating autoresponders. In fact, that’s where she spends quite a lot of her time! Setting up a system of autoresponders can take your blog a long way towards success. This is one example of spending your time on business strategy (i.e. engaging and growing your audience!) and how it can net positive results.
Anyone who's serious about building a blog and making money, needs to leverage Google's webmaster tools to see what keywords they're ranking for and any messages that would impact their ability to rank. This will also allow you to submit an XML sitemap and track keyword impressions along with click-through rates. This is one of the most useful tools for growing your site or blog through constant analysis of your efforts.

Sign up for affiliate marketing. Affiliate marketing is a very popular way of monetizing a blog because it capitalizes on your readers’ trust of you. If your posts always deliver quality content, then your audience is more likely to trust product or service recommendations. You can provide links or recommendations to relevant products and get a commission from any sales driven by your blog.[44][45]


Jeff, first article of yours I’ve read. Excellent stuff! I’m following Michelle as well and am floored at the potential. I’m starting right now to implement all your suggestions. I’ve not yet set up my website email, but hey, one bite at a time, right? I’m looking forward to making a contribution to the interwebs. At this moment, by site is a blank slate, but I have several posts written in Google Docs of which to choose from. Cheers!
A great post, Ramsay, and great timing for me. I just went live with a coming soon page for my first website and blog that I plan to launch early next year. It’s great to read what your thoughts are on the future of blogging. I have to admit, I’ve been guilty of what you talk about in #19. I had planned to have my coming soon page up in October, but I was focusing on too many little things and got hung up. Now my challenge will be to not have the same thing happen with the main site.
Choose your topic. The best blogs focus on topics that you, the blogger, are passionate about. This topic can be anything that you believe you have enough to say about to interest others. It works best if you can find a “niche” that is not being fully exploited.[9] There are several important things to keep in mind when choosing your blog topic:[10]
If you want to be famous or reach a wide audience, you will have to choose something slightly broader and work hard to make the best content for that topic. A subtopic relating to fitness, finance, or relationship advice is likely to reach the most people. Consider specific but broadly applicable topics such as managing money in college, or a marriage counseling blog.
If you want to really make money with your blog, you need to create a mailing list using one of the billions of email service providers out there. I use and love ConvertKit, but if you are just getting started and don’t understand sales funnels, sequences, or tagging you might want to start off with something simpler and free. If that is the case go with MailChimp where you get the first 2,000 subscribers free or Mailer Lite.

The tools you use to reach people constantly change and you always have new options – more than you can handle. If however you understand the fundamentals, you realize that your core values stay consistent. How you present your value and what distribution formats you use to deliver it to people, fluctuates based on what is working best at any given time.
However if you are NOT clear on this and you don’t mind spending some time doing research, one of the best things you can do is start reaching out to people with your “best guess” offer and see how that goes. In the case of blogging that means writing about the subject area you want to focus on, even if you are not clear how exactly you fit into that niche yet.
Second job, anyone? In America, two-income families are the norm but think of the havoc it wreaks on your daily life. You’re so exhausted by the time you get home from work; you barely have enough time and energy to make dinner and help the kids out with their homework. Even that becomes difficult if you work at more than one place, whether evenings or on weekends.
Take some time and create a list of topics you’d like to write about. Then for each topic create subtopics. Example: Cooking – Gourmet Cooking, Gourmet Cooking on a Budget, Gourmet Recipes, Easy Gourmet Recipes, Gourmet Desserts, Gourmet Chocolate Desserts, etc. Next brainstorm specific article ideas for each subtopic. Make sure to write these down on paper — it helps to visually see the process.
Hi, thanks for this very helpful post! Is it possible to register a domain even if you don’t plan on using it immediately? Basically just ensuring that you get the domain name that you want (if possible). Also, if I’m planning to blog on varying topics what would you recommend to do as far as a name? Do you think it’s imperative that the name coincides with the topic? I only ask because I’ve seen fashion/beauty blogs where their names have nothing to do with fashion or beauty. I’m sooo stuck on the name I can’t move to the next steps! Ugh!
“After a year and a half of blogging as a hobby, I decided to launch a second blog with the goal of making a profit. Ruth did an excellent job addressing all of the questions I had, including the ones that came up as I navigated through my new blogging journey. By implementing the strategies and action plans in Ruth's eBook, I was able to surpass my one-year blog traffic goal within 3 months from launching my blog. Not only that, I was also able to earn an income within 2 months! Today, my blog traffic and income continue to steadily grow. If you are serious about monetizing your blog, Ruth provides you with the necessary tools to yield tangible results.” Jesenia Montanez @ The Latina Homemaker
Most bloggers actually welcome the advance to create great content for their platform. So you shouldn’t be shy in at least trying. There’s no harm in trying. If you succeed, then it will be a big win. If not, continue to network and add value on your own, and eventually, as you build it, they will most certainly come. Just don’t expect it to happen quickly or easily.
Write down every topic that you are knowledgeable or passionate about. You'll have a much easier time making money from a blog you are interested in, rather than trying to write content you don't like because you think it will make money.[1] Some examples are hobbies that you enjoy, your career, or some specific and miscellaneous knowledge that you have.

I appreciate all the info you have here. I have had to retire from a 50 year career because of a health problem and I desperately need to find something to do at home to keep from losing my house. I have been looking at your site for months now, and just can’t find anything I would be interested in doing. I had a blog once before, years ago, and loved it, but never made any money from it as I didn’t understand how to. I have stayed away from the blogging idea because I know it takes a while to get going (making any money) and I need some NOW. But, after months of not finding anything else suitable, I have decided that if I don’t get started doing something, I’ll never get anywhere. After reading all of your info here, and printing out all of the basics to get started, it’s a little daunting! There’s so much more to it than I thought. I think I know what topic, niche, to use and want to start with affiliate marketing, but there is SO much to know and get it started! I hope I am able to get this all figured out! One thing you suggested is to connect with other bloggers to get tips on how to do things. How do you do that? Where do you find them?


Always keep a capture device close by. Ideas can come to you at any time and if you don’t write them down then they can easily be forgotten and lost. So write down every idea for a blog post that you get and then evaluate if it's a good and useable one later on. I use a memo app on my smart-phone for this when I am out and about. And my computer when I'm at home.

Over time, as you move from this beginning phase of learning how to start a blog and into the stages where you're progressing in different ways to drive traffic to your website, growing your established base of readers and focusing on improving your domain authority, you'll be able to start competing on the bigger topics—but for now, picking a niche is the name of the game.
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